The Bell Z20 MIPS helmet is the newest addition to the storied lid-protectors’ line of road cycling helmets, and you’ll see in my video review – it’s packed with features… Scroll down for the video – or see it on the PEZ Youtube Channel here.
Let’s not kid ourselves – a good looking helmet is as important as how well it protects your head, so I’ll give you the full four sided views below to establish the style cred right off the top here.
The front… Note the big deep channels that dial up the ventilation.
A little peek around the back…
The rear view…
…and the other side.
It’s offered in nine different colorways on the Bell website – including the Zephyr Ghost color on my tester – which is a light gray / white combo that reflects light very well – as you can see in the two pics above and below, when I shot it with the flash off, and on.
Looking good is just part of the equation, and another of the best features here is the full MIPS liner inside, which has been integrated with Bell’s retention system, that allows the helmet to fully float around your head – even when locked and cinched into place. I removed the small foam liner pads in the photo below to better show the whole MIPS cage.
Those small yellow tabs anchor the cage to the helmet shell, but allow it to float around your head. You can see it best in the schematic diagram from Bell…
As one of the oldest brands in American cycling, Bell is proud of their roots.
But the MIPS liner isn’t the whole story on protection here either. Bell uses a dual density foam liner inside the protective cage – that’s two separate layers of foam, designed with different densities to better absorb crash impacts. The structural cage is actually sandwiched between these two layers – as you can see in the photo below.
Keeping cool is a big deal for most of us, and Bell’s design does a very good job of venting air in, across, and out of the helmet.
Unlike a lot of other helmets that boast umpteen million vents, Bell’s design allows for that cooling airflow with deep channels that allow the air to move the way it needs to for proper cooling. You can also see the how the two separate foam layers meet in the photo below.
Bell’s “Sweat Guide Padding” does a very good job of keeping sweat off the brow, and from dripping down onto your glasses or face.
The green arrows below point to small vents that help channel airflow from your bow into the helmet cage where it can flow over you head and help cool with cooling.
The back of the cage offers four vertical adjustment points (while most brands I’ve seen offer only 2-3). You can also see how much space there is for hot air to escape from the back as well.
The retention system – which Bell calls “FloatRace” is integrated with the MIPS cage, which allows for a more compact overall fit, and just makes it a more efficient design.
Finally – the chin strap system is a nice one too – very thin straps that fit a nice low profile against your skin, resulting in less wind noise and drag, and a lower weight than other retention straps. And speaking of weight – my size Medium weighted in a 316 grams – which is nice and light.
The z20 with MIPS is priced at US$250, and is available without MIPS for about $20 less.